Ram Issues “Do Not Drive” Order For Older Pickup Trucks Following Deadly Takata Airbag Incident

2002 Dodge Ram 1500. Stellantis dropped using Takata airbags in its vehicles in 2016
2002 Dodge Ram 1500. Stellantis dropped using Takata airbags in its vehicles in 2016

It is not uncommon for automakers to send out recall notices for mechanical errors regarding a particular make and model. But Ram announced that older pickups equipped with Takata airbags have been given a “Do Not Drive” notice following an incident that resulted in a passenger’s death triggered by an auto accident on May 13th, 2023.

Why Did Ram Send Out A “Do Not Drive” Notice?

According to Detroit News, the first fatality from an exploding passenger-side Takata inflator occurred in a 2003 Dodge Ram 1500. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says that the total number of fatalities caused by Takata airbags in the U.S. has increased to 26.

The 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 was one of 385,686 trucks that were recalled in 2015, warning owners that occupants were “at grave risk of serious injury or death”, and that they should not be driven until they are brought in to a service center to replace the faulty airbag. The NHTSA estimates that approximately 84,000 of these trucks were never brought in for repairs.

RELATED: Nissan Recalls 450k Vehicles Because Emblems Are Turning Into Air Bag Projectiles

“The older a defective Takata air bag inflator gets, the more dangerous it becomes. Please, get your air bag replaced now for your sake, and for the sake of those who love you,” says NHTSA Administrator Ann Carlson in a press release. “Don’t put yourself or someone you love at risk of dying or being seriously injured because of a defective, recalled Takata air bag. These repairs are absolutely free and could save your life.”

What Caused Takata Airbags To Be Defective?

The cause behind the defective Takata airbags are believed to be the result of the chemical compounds inside the inflators that are said to deteriorate with age. More so in hot and humid climates. As a result of this, when the airbag is deployed it can rupture, sending shards of debris through the air. Many cases involving these airbags have resulted in serious injuries, and sometimes death.

Older Ram truck owners concerned whether their vehicle has received repairs can view its status by entering its VIN at recalls.mopar.com or checktoprotect.org, as well as calling the help line at 833-585-0144. Stellantis says it will provide temporary transportation for customers at no cost to them while their vehicle receives repairs.

The recall for Takata airbags began in 2014 and Stellantis has sent over 210 million notices to inform customers, and over 6.1 million vehicles have had their inflators replaced. Stellantis dropped using Takata’s inflators in its produced vehicles in 2016.

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